WHO ARE THE SELF-EMPLOYED?
1. Persons gainfully occupied in employment in Belize and are not employed persons.
2. Are between the ages 18 and 60 years.
3. Are ordinarily resident in Belize.
SELF – EMPLOYED PERSONS ARE:
Step 1: Register
- Apply for a Social Security Card (if not yet registered) by using the R4 form
- Apply for participation as a Self-employed by using the SE-A1 form
- Social Security gives you an Acceptance of Application
Step 2: Pay your contributions
- Weekly Contribution is seven percent of your declared income
(minimum income to declare – $55.00)
(maximum income to declare – $320.00)
- Contributions are payable by the 14th of each month using the prescribed form –SE FIN 15.
Rates Example: Schedule II
|Insurable Income||Contribution Weekly (7%)||Short Term Benefit (80%)|
Step 3: Claim your benefits
- Short-term Benefits
Sickness, Maternity Allowance, Maternity Grant
- Long-term Benefits
Retirement, Invalidity, Survivors, Funeral Grant
- Employment Injury Benefits
Injury, Medical Care, Disablement, Constant Attendance Allowance, Death, Funeral Grant
Step 4: Know your Rights and Responsibilities
- Register to get your Social Security card, providing all relevant information (R4 Form).
- Apply with Social Security to insure yourself as a self-employed (SE-A1 Form).
- Pay Social Security contributions no later than 14 days after the end of each calendar month, once you are an insured self-employed person at the weekly income level that you declare (Contributions Schedule II).
- Provide to Social Security a Certificate of Contribution, showing your name, Social Security number, contributions being paid, and other particulars, as may be required by the Board (SE FIN 15 Form).
- Maintain an Accident Book in which all work-related accidents and suspected illnesses are recorded.
- Inform Social Security if you stop being self-employed immediately, to avoid paying for periods that you do not have an income or during which you work as an employee for someone, on the Notice of Termination form (SE-T).
- Make your claim within the prescribed time set by the Social Security Act.
- Present all required documents for your claim; this speeds up the process.
- Collect your benefit payments once your claim is approved.
- Appeal if you are not satisfied with the decision made regarding your benefit claim.
- Claim a refund of overpaid contributions, when necessary.
- Collect and read Social Security literature.
- Check your contributions history from time to time.
Selecting a weekly income
Every self-employed person elects a weekly income for each contribution year not later than the end of the calendar month following that in which the first contribution week in which he is liable to pay contribution as a self-employed person begins, and such election shall be valid for the whole contribution year. Self-employed persons will be allowed to elect a new insurable income but only an increase or decrease of $50.00 in the insurable income for the subsequent year.
In the case of a self-employed person who fails to elect a weekly income within the time prescribed for any contribution year, and where he had elected a weekly income in the contribution year immediately preceding the one in which the failure occurred, the weekly income he had elected for the preceding contribution year will continue to be used. A self-employed person who on or after the appointed day (January 6, 2002) was 50 years and over, shall select a weekly insurable income not to exceed $200.00 per week. Self-employed persons will not be able to change their last declared insurable income after age 54.
Payment of contributions
Contributions are to be paid no later than 14 days after the end of each calendar month. Every self-employed person shall, within fourteen days after the end of each calendar month pay all contributions payable in respect of the month, provided that in any particular case or class of cases, the Board may require or authorize payment of the total contributions due at such shorter or longer intervals as it may determine.
If during the course of the month the employment of a self-employed person ceases or is interrupted because of sickness, employment injury, pregnancy, change of employment status, or other circumstances which might affect his or her liability to pay contributions for the whole month, he or she shall nevertheless, be liable to pay contributions in respect of that part of the month during which he or she was self-employed, that is up to the day immediately preceding the date of cessation. Provided that a self-employed person shall not be liable to pay contributions as a self-employed person in respect of any period which he or she is either in receipt of benefit, (with the exception of survivors) or is liable to pay contributions as an employed person.
A person who during one part of the calendar year is mainly employed as an employed person and for another part of that year is mainly employed as a self-employed person shall be liable to pay contributions respectively as an employed person and as a self-employed person.
Refund of contributions
A self-employed person shall not be required to pay contributions in respect of any period prior to attaining the age of sixty during which he is in receipt of benefit, and shall be entitled to a refund of any contributions so paid.
When contributions are paid, which are of the wrong class or at the wrong rate, the Board may treat as paid on account of contributions which would have been properly payable.
Any contribution made in error by a self-employed person shall be returned by the Board on application to that person in accordance with the Contributions Regulations. A self-employed person who becomes insured for the first time on the ‘appointed day’ and who cannot by virtue of his or her proven age qualify for any benefit under the Act shall be eligible for a refund of contributions paid by him or her between the appointed day and his or her attainment of age sixty.
Contributions affect Benefits
Remember that Social Security is not charity, it is social insurance. All persons insured under Social Security, and earning money, pay into the Social Security Fund. These payments are our contributions, and Social Security uses our record of contributions to find out how much we can receive when we need to collect a benefit. How much you pay in depends on the weekly income that you declare. Our contributions and our benefits are calculated according to the insured earnings.
A self-employed person’s declared income is between $55.00 and $320.00 per week. The declared income determines the weekly contribution to be paid.